Our Mini Countryman is well on its way back to Southern California. This post comes to you from Northern California, near Infineon Raceway for a press event. The Countryman has been a (mostly) trusty companion for the long slog from SoCal to Seattle and back. Although the Countryman may be the biggest Mini model, it still has many of the quirks the brand is known for. Depending on your perspective, those quirks are either endearing or annoying. Read on to see what we mean.
After driving spending the equivalent of more than a day behind the wheel of our long term Mini Countryman S All4, it was pretty refreshing to stay put for a weekend. That’s not to say the Mini sat baking in the sun all day. The Countryman served as an around town shuttle this past weekend, and took the girlfriend and I exploring the areas surrounding Shasta Lake in Northern California.
The Countryman was an excellent companion in the twisty hills leading to the area's marinas and campgrounds. I knew the Countryman was going to be great in the twisties. What I was more curious about was how the all-wheel drive Mini would handle a little light off-roading on the dirt access roads surrounding the lake. With its sporty suspension, run-flat tires, and front-biased all-wheel drive system I frankly wasn't expecting much. Much to my surprise the Countryman took to the dirt access roads threw like an excited puppy bounding to the door to welcome its owner. The Countryman's rally roots proudly shown through and it took every ounce of will in my body to resist tire-destroying dirt road hooning.
Over the weekend I also thought it might be fun to find out the real-world effects of the Mini's quirky interior, and so I devised a simple test: put someone in the front seat, whip out a stopwatch, and ask them to open the driver or passenger windows. The reactions were pretty entertaining. The first participant took 34.6 seconds before she discovered the Mini's window toggle switches mounted low and out of sight in the center stack. The second participant took a bit longer – 48.7 seconds – to find the window switches, while the third was a solid DNF after about a minute of searching.
Though I've only got one day left of driving – a 416 mile jaunt south to our El Segundo headquarters on Wednesday – let me know in the comments below any requests on what you'd like me to talk about, or any questions on how the Mini has handled the journey from L.A. to Seattle to Infineon Raceway and back.
Day 4 Stats
Distance Driven: 2107 miles
Indicated mpg: 26.3 mpg
Indicated avg. speed: 61.9 mph
Time behind wheel: 35:15 hours
Photos and Blog post written by Christian Seabaugh